Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, June 7, 2001

How the city regulates
renting of private homes

Question: Are there any regulations, laws or whatever regarding a private home renting out bedrooms on a short-term basis (like three or four days) in a residential neighborhood? I'm sure there must be some kind of licensing for bed-and-breakfast operations, but I don't think this is going to be a bed-and-breakfast.

Answer: The city classifies rentals as either short-term or long-term.

A family related by blood can rent to a maximum three roomers, but it has to be on a long-term basis, meaning for more than 30 days, said Lorrie Chee, deputy director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting. Rentals for less than 30 days are considered "transient vacation rentals," which are permitted only in resort and resort-commercial districts with nonconforming use certificates.

But it's not that simple. Transient vacation rentals are not to be confused with bed-and-breakfast accommodations.

"The difference between a bed-and-breakfast and a transient vacation rental is that the owner has to occupy the house (in the former), and he or she must also have a nonconforming use certificate," Chee said. But the catch is, if you don't already have one of these certificates in hand, "you can't get one," she said.

The City Council sought to phase out such nonconforming uses in 1989.

The ordinance adopted that year allowed transient vacation rentals that had nonconforming use certificates, in operation prior to Oct. 26, 1986, to continue, Chee said. It also allowed bed-and-breakfasts that were operating with the certificates prior to Dec. 29, 1989, to continue, she said.

Initially, the city required an annual renewal of certificates. Now, renewal is required every two years.

If you have a complaint about a specific property, call the Planning and Permitting Department's inspection unit at 523-4276, and leave a message, Chee said.

Each county has its own regulations regarding B-and-Bs.


To all the people who got animal traps from the Hawaiian Humane Society for free and then failed to return them. You know who you are, and now your friends and neighbors know what you are. If from some miracle, you feel some remorse, do yourself a favor and return them. They say miracles do happen. I hope so. Good luck, Humane Society. -- No Name.


To the Kaneohe dog owner and dog lover who helped me out when my dog Boomer was injured while I was walking him along Lilipuna Road. Boomer suddenly began limping and eventually lay on the ground and would not move. The gentleman was preparing to go to work when he noticed that Boomer was in distress. We had no idea what had happened to the dog but feared the worst: that he had come in contact with a venomous insect and may be going into shock. He drove both Boomer and me home, and I took the dog to the vet, where it turned out Boomer had most likely been stung in the paw by a bee, not a life-threatening injury. But giving us a lift was a nice gesture from a neighbor I had only met a few times while walking our dogs. -- Charles

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